“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Most people spend their whole lives looking for kindred spirits. There may be billions of people in the world, but it’s not that easy to find someone who will take the time to cheer you up when you’re lonely, someone to share secrets and brunches with, or someone who will be there for you when no one else will.
So when you come across someone you consider a friend for keeps, treasure him/her and recognize how rare it is to find a person who makes you feel good whenever you’re with them, who supports you no matter what, and will share all their important life moments with you. In order to keep them in your life, you have to be a good friend to them — just as they are to you.
1. Be available
Good friends show up when it matters the most. When your friend has had a terrible day, be there for them. If they have a competition in school and their parents can’t make it, be there to root for them. When they need a shoulder to cry on, be the first to offer yours.
However, a good friend is not only around when the chips are down. You also have to be there when your friend has something to celebrate. It’s all about sharing these important moments with them to show that they can count on you.
Even if you can’t physically be present when they need you, a quick chat or phone call can go a long way in comforting them with your presence.
2. Be kind
Friends don’t shoot each other down, so you have to watch your words and actions around them. Be generous with compliments and courteous about criticism. It may be normal for close friends to kid around and tease each other sometimes, but always be sensitive and endeavor to be kind because words can cut deep and leave a lasting mark on someone’s heart.
A good rule of thumb is to never say or do something that you don’t want said or done to you.
3. Be honest and share your feelings
Friendships die a painful death when friends lie to one another, even if it’s just that little white lie to keep hurt feelings at bay. If you have something to say, speak your mind. After all, why would you want to be friends with someone you can’t be completely honest with?
Did you feel bad when they asked someone else and not you to be gym partners? Were you hurt that they did not save you a seat at lunch? Are you worried that you don’t spend as much time together anymore? Tell them. Communicate — it’s the best way to approach and even prevent conflict in your friendships.Finding good friends who will be there for you no matter what always starts by being a good friend yourself. Here’s how you can practice being a good friend. Click To Tweet
4. Consider their feelings
As you learn how to be more transparent with your friends about your feelings, you must also be considerate of theirs. For example, think of how they would feel if you decide to blow them off to spend time with someone else. Now, this doesn’t mean you are compelled to exclusively spend time with your friend — it just means you have to understand if they might feel hurt about it. It shouldn’t be too difficult to take the time to explain these things to your friend. If they are really worth keeping, they would understand it, too.
5. Be happy for them
Jealousy fractures friendships, so make sure you don’t turn healthy competition (whether in school or otherwise) get in the way of a good friendship. Even if it’s at your expense, be happy when they score a leading role in the school play, or when they get picked for an award you were also hoping to get. Think of their wins as yours too — it’s the best way to preserve worthy friendships especially when competition cannot be avoided.
6. Keep their secrets and entrust them with yours
Trust is the foundation of all good friendships. When your friend entrusts you with a secret, protect it and never tell another soul. After all, you wouldn’t want them going around telling things you told them in confidence, too, right? Show that you are a trustworthy friend by keeping their secrets safe with you.
Trust is also a two-way street. If you want to make your friends feel trusted, you have to feel comfortable sharing secrets with them, too. You will feel closer to your friends when you let them into your life, especially when they have already shared some with you. Sharing secrets, fears, hopes and dreams always draws people closer together, and it can’t just be the other party sharing stuff with you.
7. Honour your promises
More importantly, never make promises you can’t keep. Between friends, promises are sacred — whether or not sealed by a pinky swear. You don’t want your words to lose value, so only make promises you are able to keep. For instance, do not promise to show up to your friend’s sleepover before you’ve gotten permission from your parents. This might give them false hope about something you’re not sure you can actually do.
If it’s something within your power, though, like if you promised to sit next to them at a field trip, then just do it.
8. Do not gossip
Gossip is the bane of all friendships and sharing little stories about someone else behind their back, no matter how innocent or harmless it may seem will always erode a friendship. Don’t do it. And if you hear someone gossiping about your friend, make it a point to neither add to the gossip nor approve of it. It may not always be necessary to stick your neck out to say something, but it may often be prudent to walk away.
No matter how different someone else is to you, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own little quirks and preferences. Some quirks are more obvious than others while some people do a great job of hiding their fears and differences. Ultimately though, everyone only wants to be accepted and gossiping about people behind their back is a long way from helping people feel accepted.
9. Accept them for who they are
No matter how much you love your friends, they will never be 100% like you. They might turn out to have some weird habit or a unique taste in music that you just can’t get behind on, but never try to change them just for you. As long as they’re good people, they make you feel good about yourself, they can be trusted, and you have great times together, all their other quirks need to be accepted as part of the package. Take it or leave it, but never pressure your friends to change who they are for your sake.
10. Call them out when they’re wrong
Albus Dumbledore once said, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”
Being friends with someone doesn’t mean being okay with everything they do. In fact, you can be a good friend by being the first person to tell them when they’ve done something wrong. Be constructive but firm about it, and never ever help or enable them in any way to do bad things like bullying, cheating, or spreading rumors about someone else.
Nobody’s perfect. Even your best, most trusted friend can hurt or disappoint you in unexpected ways. You are not obliged to keep them in your life when they do something terribly bad or hurtful to you, but if it’s something you can live with and they’ve apologized to you and everyone else they might have wronged, you can learn how to forgive.
Especially if it’s just the first mistake done to you by such friend, you can chalk it up as a learning experience in forgiveness. Talk it out and have them promise not to do it again. If they’re true friends, then you already know they’re bound to keep the promise.Being a good friend is always easier said than done. It takes a lot of sensitivity, kindness, and loyalty to make friendships work. Here are some rules you can follow as a guide to be the best friend anyone has ever had. Click To Tweet
12. Don’t hold grudges
As mentioned earlier, you are not obliged to stay friends with someone who has hurt you or betrayed your trust. However, if you choose to forgive and stay friends, then you must not hold grudges. When you forgive, forgive fully and do not use their past mistakes against them or as leverage when you need something from them.
Once you agree to start with a fresh slate, commit to it. Being a good friend means burying the hatchet once you agree to do so.
13. Apologize when you’re wrong
Now, when it’s your turn to make a mistake or do something that might have upset your friend for any reason, be quick to apologize sincerely. Don’t wait until all your friends have to hold an intervention for you — be the first to admit when you’re wrong, or at least be open to hearing it when a friend calls you out on something.
You already know that your friends are under no obligation to accept you back as a friend when you do something hurtful. If it ever happens, just learn from the experience and make sure you don’t do it again to any friends you might meet in the future.
14. Be loyal
A good friend is a loyal friend. Defend your pals fiercely, especially when they’re not around to speak for themselves. Be the first to dispel false rumors about them, and defend their character to others who might be keen on judging them.
Never betray their trust and stand up for them when they are being attacked.Having a friend you can treasure for life is a rare gift not given to everyone. To keep them in your life, here are 15 ways on how you can be a good friend. Click To Tweet
15. Keep in touch
Finally, keep the flame of friendship burning by always keeping in touch. You might be disheartened to know that friends inevitably grow or drift apart over time. They might transfer schools, move neighborhoods, or even migrate to another country.
However, know that true friendship is not limited by distance and does not depend on proximity. As long as you practice how to be a good friend as discussed in this article, no distance will ever be too far for your friendship to survive.
Like trust, friendship is always a two-way street. People spend so much time and energy trying to find good friends, not knowing that all they have to do is to be a good friend themselves. Keep in mind the advice you learned from this article on how to be a good friend and you will surely realize that making good friends doesn’t have to be that hard — just start by being a good one.